Anglo Printers JFC Group D
For 35 minutes it was everything a derby should be – close, intense and competitive.
Rank outsiders Naomh Malachi more than held their own, charging into an early lead and edging ahead again straight after the re-start.
Colin Rooney’s early second-half brace made a shock a genuine possibility, but it turned out to be the Mals last stand and 25-minutes later they were left to pick up the pieces of a whopping 18-point defeat.
Roche may have taken a while to hit their stride, but they lit the after-burners in the second period, rattling off 4-6 without reply in the final 23 minutes plus stoppage time.
Their neighbours posed plenty of questions in the opening half, however.
The impressive Conor Carthy opened the scoring for Roche, but four points in as many minutes from Ronan Greene, Padraig Moley, Colin Rooney and Donal Begley gave Mals an early edge.
But by the end of the first quarter there was no separating them.
Barry O’Hare started to find his range for Roche, converting a free and adding another from play, before Conor Carthy levelled matters at 0-4 apiece.
Mals hit the front again through Tiernan Gonnelly, but Conor Carthy quickly cancelled that one out before O’Hare have Roche the lead for the first time since the opening minute.
Moley hit back at the other end, but Roche looked to be exerting their authority when O’Hare and Conor Macken struck in quick succession to make it 0-8 to 0-6.
But the Mals didn’t panic and Jamie Kelly made it a one-point game again.
As half-time approached Duane Callan put two between the sides again, but a Tiernan Gonnelly free reduced the gap to the minimum at the break, 0-9 to 0-8.
Roche spent almost twice as long in the dressing room as their neighbours, but it was Mals who seized the early initiative through Collie Rooney, whose brace made it 0-10 to 0-9.
But unfortunately that was it for the men from Courtbane.
Conor Carthy, Caoimhin Reilly and O’Hare, with a sublime sideline kick, made it 0-12 to 0-10 before O’Hare really put the blues in control, latching onto Dan O’Connell’s sideline kick and firing an unstoppable finish past Liam McCann.
It got even worse for the Mals five minutes later when David Quigley and Liam Carthy combined to release Conor Carthy, who side-stepped McCann to fire into an empty net.
A ‘45’ from O’Hare put nine points between the sides, 2-13 to 0-10 and that truly was curtains for Mals.
They made several changes in quick succession, but there was no stopping Roche at that stage and another flowing move ended with Louth panellist David Quigley fisting to the net from close range to make it 3-14 to 0-10.
Goal number four followed five minutes later, dispatched by substitute Cathal Byrne.
In the closing seconds O’Hare brought his personal tally to 1-8, converting a brace of frees.
The final scoreline was harsh on Mals, but they will be confident they can re-group for their remaining two games, particularly if they reproduce their first-half display.
Roche can put one foot in the quarter-finals with a win over Stabannon Parnells on Friday night.
ROCHE EMMETS: Niall McArdle; James Tiffany, Harry O’Connell, Duane Callan 0-1; David O’Connell, Liam Rice, Dermot Carthy; Dan O’Connell, David Quigley 1-0; Evin Quigley, Conor Carthy 1-4, Barry O’Hare 1-8 (3f, 1 ‘45’); Conor Macken 0-1, Liam Carthy 0-1, Caoimhin Reilly 0-1. Subs: Aaron Callan for Macken, Cathal Byrne 1-0 for E Quigley, Philip Quinn for D Callan, Kevin Quigley for Reilly.
NAOMH MALACHI: Liam McCann; David Begley, David Rogers, Conor Gonnelly; Jamie Kelly 0-1, Peter McShane, Donal Begley 0-1; Padraig Moley 0-2, Ronan McElroy; Noel Donaldson, Ronan Greene 0-1, Kieran Hughes; Tiernan Gonnelly 0-2 (1f), Liam Campbell, Colin Rooney 0-3 (2f). Subs: Shane Roddy for C Gonnelly, Pierce Caherty for Hughes, Eamon Agnew for T Gonnelly, Liam Finnegan for McShane, Mark Meegan for L Campbell.
REFEREE: Kevin Carroll.